The 8ft Wide Caravan Voted Not That Popular?
8ft feet of space or 8ft of fear
Wednesday, 19, Dec 2018 01:45
By William Coleman
The 8ft caravan is a bit like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. This year we have seen the 8ft van make a comeback with Bailey's brand new Pegasus Grande range, which was a complete redesign, but some caravanners still seem unconvinced by the larger van. We take a look into Caravan Guard's latest poll which reveals some strong numbers regarding the 8ft'er.
This year at October's NEC Motorhome and Caravan Show I was very much on the lookout for the larger vans on display, mainly because I am actually a fan. Having seen some impressive concepts during the Dusseldorf show I was keen to see what the UK could look forward to come 2019.
All UK manufacturers decided to release 8ft wide vans for the upcoming 2019 season. Some companies decided to simply make the chassis wider whereas others wanted to totally redesigned the van from the ground up to provide a totally unique van. The redesigns stand above the rest, in my opinion they. Aside from my opinion what does the rest of the caravan world think?
Last month Caravan Guard published a community poll asking if their readers would ever consider owning/using an 8ft wide caravan, and how many readers currently own one. The response was overwhelming!
Within no time at all there were 300 votes on the poll with a staggering 60% saying "no" to the extra inches the 8ft caravan provides. The majority opinion was that the roads in the UK are simply not wide enough to tow something larger, especially in areas that are pretty much all narrow country lanes.
Another opinion was that it is not just the roads that do not cater for the larger van; service stations and some campsites are also not very well equipped to deal with the larger leisure vehicle extra width. A lot of voters feared towing a larger van and were unwilling to tackle the challenge presented by the 8ft wide van.
It would seem that a lot of people have a type of "stigma, for lack of a better word, against the 8ft caravans. A bit like saying "I wont eat that because I know I will not like it", how do you know if you do not try?
The standard caravan is width is 7 ft 6½ so when you think about the extra 5 and a half inches it really is not a lot, until you find yourself having to reverse down a narrow country lane. So, yes it can present a new set of challenges but a seasoned caravanner should have zero issue adjusting to these.
Fear not though, as it was not all bad news for 2019's newest super sized additions. Almost 25% of the vote went to the "yes" option, meaning that a lot of people have not totally ruled out the idea of a larger model. Another 6% of voters already had an 8ft wide caravan and were very happy with the extra space. Meaning 30% were in favour of wide units. And a further 10% were undecided and voted "maybe". So it certainly seems there is a big enough market for such caravans.
If you have the luxury of having a seasonal pitch then the 8ft vans from the likes of Coachman, Elddis and Swift would be a fantastic option if towing makes you feel uneasy. Get the dealer to do the hard work and have them deliver it to site, jobs a good'un. This way you get all that extra holiday space without any added stress or anxiety.
We asked our audience what their thoughts were on the topic and we really did get a varied mix of responses.
One of our readers said, "Roads in Brittany, Wales, Yorkshire and Cornwall are not wide enough, the space at the side of the house isn't wider, spaces in caravan storage facilities aren't wider, ferry accommodation on board isn't wider, entry/exit lanes on caravan sites (particularly separate ones) are not wider. 'Nuff said."
Whereas another reader had a completely different opinion, "Bought our 8ft wide van last spring and have had no problems. You just have to plan your journey and make allowances. Have traveled to Suffolk, Norfolk, Wales, Leicestershire and the Lakes. The extra internal room is a boon, makes our old van seem very small."
Another positive comment I just had to share was from someone who'd actually tackled towing an 8ft'er abroad, so using a ferry and the other side of the road did not seem to actually be a factor, "Have had mine 12mths and apart from putting the mirrors at outside edge if the car not a problem. Been abroad with it and towing no different with car.
So just like Marmite is has people split right down the middle. There does seem to be a lot of people who will not even entertain the idea of a larger van and are very much stuck in their ways, which if fine as they are the backbone of the industry, and there are some who love the extra living and leisure space provider by a wider tourer. Where do you sit on this?